Nowadays, there are many challenges the average user has to face in order to make sure their passwords and credentials are safe. With each passing year, the number of cyberattacks increases. Not only that, but attackers constantly develop new ways to exploit unsuspecting users and gain access to their valuable information.
This is where password managers come in. A quality password manager helps you protect your data and avoid any issues that would stem from mishandling it. But, do you know how password management works and how to pick the best password manager based on your needs? In this guide, we’ll cover these and many other topics to help you establish superior password management practices.
What is Password Management?
Password management represents a set of specified practices that you need to follow to ensure you’re properly storing and managing all of your passwords. Passwords are the traditional and most prevalent way of guaranteeing reliable authentication, they are not free of their flaws, which can be exploited.
The most common security challenges include login spoofing, sniffing attacks, and brute force attacks. Luckily, with good password management habits, you can minimize the risk of experiencing all of these.
Looking at the most recent survey on proper password management practices, over two-thirds of global users believe that it’s more important to have a strong password than one that’s easy to remember. Moreover, the vast majority of users also consider that they are at least somewhat familiar with proper password management practices.
While all of this sounds encouraging, if you look deeper into a few other stats, you’ll find that there is a lot of room for improvement. For instance, a recent survey has shown that over 80% of users worldwide reuse the same passwords across several sites. What’s more, nearly half of the users rely on their memory for password management.
And, as we all know but won’t always admit, human memory can be a very fickle thing. This often leads to login mistakes and the need to reset passwords several times a week or even every day.
Plus, the standard password management tactics most users resort to are generally very unsafe. Whether you’re writing down your login credentials on physical paper or keeping them in a spreadsheet, there are much more efficient ways of managing your passwords. We’re primarily speaking about using a password manager, which leads us to the next point.
How Does a Password Manager Work?
Password managers work on a very simple principle. The first time you use it, you will record the username and password you want to use for the site you want to access. Then, every subsequent time that you want to access the same site or service, the password manager will use the autofill feature to automatically fill out your credentials.
In case you want to set up this system on a website that doesn’t support using a password manager with autofill features, the password manager will still allow you to copy and paste your login details.
It’s also important to mention that most password managers work on a “master password principle”. In other words, you only need to remember the master password that unlocks the password manager, after which it will do all of the rest. In some cases, the credentials could be kept on an encrypted server and can’t be read even by the password management company as well.
Is a Password Manager Safe?
Yes, password managers are very safe. However, they are not perfect. So, now that we know what they are and how they work, let's go a bit further and highlight the most significant advantages and disadvantages of password managers. With that in mind, here are the biggest pros and cons of password managers:
Pros of Password Managers
Despite password managers being so useful and valuable, they are still not as prevalent as they should be among regular users. To emphasize what these tools bring to the table, here’s a closer look at the biggest advantages of password managers:
- Strong Encryption - All quality password managers employ 256-bit AES encryption. This standard is considered uncrackable, guaranteeing that your passwords remain inaccessible.
- Zero Trust System - Password managers also use zero trust. In simple words, this means that your master password is always encrypted before it leaves your device. Because of this, it’s not accessible to anyone and isn’t stored anywhere.
- Automatic Password Generating - Some password managers allow you to automatically generate passwords, providing you with a very intuitive experience and saving you from having to think up complex new passwords.
Cons of Password Managers
Keeping the previous in mind, password managers come with some inherent flaws you should be aware of before you use one. This is because some of these aspects may be deal-breakers for some users. So, here are a few downsides of password managers:
- It’s All In One Place - With everything kept safe in one place, the chance of you getting hacked is lower. But, if you suffer a breach, the damage would be much more substantial.
- The Danger Of Keylogging - A password manager protects you from keylogging attacks, as you can use the autofill feature. But, if you are using a computer that already has malware when inputting passwords in your password manager, a keylogger is a much bigger threat, just like with the previous disadvantage.
- You Have to Pay For All Features - Some password managers often come with tons of features. Unfortunately, many of those are hidden behind an additional paywall. So, if you decide on a free password manager, you’re not getting the full specter of protection.
Which Password Manager is the Best?
If you want to use a password manager, the best way to go about it is to combine a software password manager with a hardware password manager or hardware-backed 2FA. This delivers significantly higher authentication security. That way, even if your master password gets accidentally compromised, all of your other passwords will still be secure.
Considering this, we’d like to bring to your attention the Hideez Key as the best alternative for any traditional hardware/software password manager. The Hideez Key is a hardware password manager that can serve as a security key for passwordless logins and provide 2FA and proximity logons.
The Hideez Key’s security architecture allows it to encrypt both the storage of private data and the communication channel itself. Additionally, the key’s Bluetooth connectivity support allows you to avoid virus penetration via the USB port and the so-called “key in a lock” issue.
The password management aspect of the service is enabled through the Hideez Client app. It allows you to import credentials and even local files and folders and securely store them in the Hideez Key, a separate device impossible to hack. Plus, you can use the Hideez Client app to generate one-time passwords, make backups, and lock or unlock your Windows devices based on proximity.
The Future of Passwords
In the last few years, we’ve seen industry giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft announcing plans to eliminate password usage altogether. And, while the world is undoubtedly moving toward passwordless authentication, some time will still pass before we see this happen.
That said, this doesn’t mean that you have to wait for years to unlock the full potential of passwordless authentication. With Hideez, you can obtain this even at an enterprise level, ensuring numerous benefits for your business.
With the Hideez IAM service, you can set up centralized credential provisioning, remote access control, and privileged access management for your IT admins and other proxy persons.
By applying the promo code TRYHIDEEZ at checkout, you can get a 10% discount on your Hideez key. Alternatively, you can also contact us to schedule a demo or request a free 30-day pilot.